So, the meal and the evening last night turned out to be mostly as I had anticipated in the previous posting: lots of sparkling wine(Villiera Brut Naturel 2007) drunk mostly by me; lots of talking and reminiscing and telling of recent adventures(a trip to China) and ventures(they are planning to buy a lovely home in Westcliff), sitting around a table by candlellight, exactly as I had anticipated.

But somehow the salt and the pepper which I felt the chicken needed did not quite satisfy my vague sense of something missing: until it suddenly struck me: I had completely forgotten about the gremolata!! The almost critical ingredient of this particular dish! So, quite unlike me and rather autocratically, I ordered all to refrain from eating another bite until I had done the gremolata: yes, I did not merely forget to sprinkle it over the dish, but completely forgot to make it, despite the lemon and parsley-in-a-punnet lined up on my kitchen counter as part of the mise en place, and fat purplish skinned garlic cloves always at the ready in a handmade bowl by a potter friend of mine next to one with red chillies equally at hand…

Blame it on the good conversation… or maybe the sparkling wine, and a plaintive plea from my old friend to eat soon because he was starving!! So, in one minute flat, I chopped up parsley and a clove of garlic and grated the rind of one lemon, scooped it all into a pretty little bowl, and strew(a Nigella term) it over the remainder of the dish in the white enameled casserole, and over the food, half eaten, in the plates…

Everyone agreed that it was worth interrupting their meal for. And anyone who has ever added gremolata(not a female goblin as I read laughing out loud once) to any stew would know: it adds a decidedly different dimension, elevating an ordinary dish to the realms of cuisine…

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